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Welcome to Tuesday, my beautiful dickholes!
I’ve missed you. I am sorry about the radio silence, but the past few weeks were really something else. After the insurrection on January 6th, my brain just sort of shut off for a while. The image of a bunch of lumpy bearded militia LARPers wearing the least tactical, baggy jeans and construction helmets breaking into the Capitol building, all the while taking selfies, froze my brain into some kind of stupidity-induced stasis. And now my brain is finally thawing out.
This week’s newsletter is sort of an artifact from the past, as I’ve had this idea in my head for years now, since the olden days. Way back, years before my food writing career started, I worked in a start-up office where we occasionally played Rock Band in the break room. My coworkers and I decided to name our band “Bananadicked Arnold,” which was our nod to everyone’s favorite historical American traitor, Benedict Arnold. It was also a nod to penises.
Later, as my food writing blossomed into a spectacular display of dick ‘n butt jokes, I said to myself, “Dannis Ree, as the greatest food writer in all of history, you should make a dish called Eggs Bananadicked, which is like Eggs Benedict, but with bananas and dicks. You will go down as a legend.”
But try as I might, I could never quite get the idea to feel complete. Eggs, bananas, hollandaise sauce? The concept was always missing something, so I never ran with it. Until today.
“Eggs Bananadicked,” I muttered to myself, getting ready to run errands. “I could do Eggs Bananadicked.”
Then Davida said, “What if you used spotted dick in it?”
Ancient gears in my head began to creak, slowly, and suddenly, the incomplete vision in my head of Eggs Bananadicked finally locked into place. This was it. This was everything. I had all the pieces except for one, and Davida handed it to me in two words: Spotted Dick.
The (un)holy assembly would be comprised of Spotted Dick, Canadian bacon, a banana, a poached egg, and hollandaise sauce.
There’s a similar dish from the 70’s called “Ham and Bananas Hollandaise,” but this would be far more exotic because it uses British ingredients.
Getting most of the ingredients would be doable in one go, except for one, which was the spotted dick. I hear some of you laughing at the name of this classic British baked pudding, originally made with beef suet and dried fruit. Real mature of you to laugh at this very serious newsletter where I explore the rich history of international desserts while I threaten to shove a dozen frozen hot dogs up my ass.
Davida asked her English coworker where to look, and after stops at three stores total, I finally found this package of Aunty’s Delicious Spotted Dick, aka, her Steamed Puds.
In case you’re wondering, I found this at World Market, where I searched around for an embarrassing amount of time, frustrated that I couldn’t find it. I almost had to call off today’s newsletter, until I finally sacked up and asked for help finding the elusive dick.
“I know this sounds terrible,” I mumbled to the store employee, “But I’m looking for a food product called spotted dick.”
The employee was a champion and didn’t even bat an eyelash. She scrolled through a digital touchscreen to look through the store’s inventory, and multiple searches for the search string “spotted dick” yielded nothing. My heart sank.
“Hmm,” she said, beneath her mask. “Let’s look in one last spot where it might be.” She walked me over to the shelf, which was literally the one closest to us, and pointed at a package that had been in front of me the whole time.
“Oh my God,” I said. “This is it. This is exactly it. Thank you so much.” I clutched the spotted dick to my chest, as if it were Gollum’s precious ring, and waited in line, judging some lady buying an enormous wicker papasan like there was no pandemic happening whatsoever.
This is coming from a person who just hit up three stores for some dick.
Spotted dick comes in a little cup that’s ready for the microwave.
By itself, it’s pretty damn good. It’s pretty much just a spiced cake with raisins in it. Think of it as the cake version of an oatmeal raisin cookie. Everyone should experience a little spotted dick in their lifetime.
Now, I could have made hollandaise from scratch. But this instant version was way more interesting.
I’d never tried it from a packet. The stuff from the jar is okay, it tastes eggy but with a fake lemony, slightly plasticky aftertaste, but the store only had the packet stuff. I was curious, so I gave it a go.
It’s hard to tell from the terrible overhead lighting in my kitchen, but the powder is a nice pastel yellow color.
All you’re supposed to do is whisk it with some milk, microwave it until it’s thickened, then whisk in some butter to finish it off.
After it cooled off a touch, I tasted it. Packet hollandaise does not taste like actual hollandaise, which is not a surprise. It does not taste like jarred hollandaise either. I would just describe it as a non-descript savory pudding that doesn’t have a ton of flavor. Is it bad? Not at all. I would be happy turning it into a lazy Béarnaise for some bargain-bin steak.
After I warmed up the spotted dick, I topped it with a little coin of ham, and some slices of banana.
There’s nothing in this world like ham and cake put together. It is a match made in heaven.
This photo, while it looks innocent, was almost impossible to snap.
Trying to balance a wet poached egg on top of freshly cut banana slices is not easy. The egg slipped off at least three times and I was afraid it’d burst open from overhandling. But it was a trooper. I rested the curved half of a banana on the plate, for the namesake bananadick.
Everything was sturdy until I put the thick instant hollandaise on top of it all, and that’s when it all went to shit.
I had my back turned to the plate when I heard the egg slip off with a glistening plop. There’s nothing like listening to your own meal make noises by itself. And now, it was time to put the Eggs Bananadicked into my mouth.
I pierced the egg with my fork and it was perfect. Normally I mess up poached eggs by either overcooking or undercooking them. Miracles do happen. I wasn’t particularly excited, and then I took my first bite, with spotted dick, a thick bit of ham, banana, silky poached egg, and a healthy dose of that weird neutral hollandaise simulator.
I tilted my head to the side and said to Davida, “You need to come try this.” She sauntered up and looked at the plate, then looked up at me suspiciously. That’s the sign of a healthy relationship. Suspicion.
Davida took a curious forkful then grunted while taking another big bite. “Ugh. This is so good. You need to feed this to other people someday.”
She’s right. It was genuinely awesome. I’m not sure if it was the nutmeg and clove from the cake with the ham, or the richness of the egg yolk with the banana and fake hollandaise, but something just clicked. On paper, it didn’t quite make sense, but the interplay and absurdity of everything just worked in its complete favor.
In the hopeful chance I get to cook for you all again one day, it’ll be bananadicked eggs for everyone! Hooray! Dicks for all!
Here’s what I need you all to do: If you enjoy reading about Eggs Bananadicked, or you just like a banana, a dick, or a bananadick now and then, then please share this newsletter. I’m serious — each time you do, it gets me climbing up the Substack best-of Food and Drink list (I’m #14 as of now). I’m trying to get bananadicks into everyone’s inboxes.
And of course, I can use all the support I can get from you, because paid subscriptions are my literal bread, butter, and (spotted) dick. You keep the newsletter going (think of it as the worst magazine you’ve ever subscribed to), plus you get bonus content and access to the archives of all the locked stuff in the past. You’re all crowdfunding Dannis.
The followup this week will be for paid subscribers, and it’ll be me creating this fake Oreo flavor in my own kitchen, but with real ingredients:
And as always, hang in there. Things are wildly weird right now, but I’m right there with you, scared, stressed, and everything.
I’ll hop into paid subscriber inboxes on Friday. Love you all.